Western Cape Education on focussing on quality matric passes

Western Cape focussing on quality matric passes

Today, 4 January 2018, Angie Motshekga, the Minister of Basic Education is scheduled to announce the National Senior Certificate results for the country.

It has been a long anxious wait for the NSC candidates who wrote in the Western Cape, as well as their parents and our Department.

While there is a tendency to focus solely on the provincial pass rate (which is an important indicator), we must also consider other important factors and indicators of success so that we can then determine if the system is ultimately improving or where it needs to be improved.

Traditionally, this Province has put particular emphasis on the number of candidates writing and passing the NSC examinations, achieving access to a Bachelor's Degree pass and passing mathematics and science, as well as the performance of our underperforming schools and the retention of learners in the system.

Last year, in response to a Parliamentary question, Minister Motshekga confirmed that the DBE is looking at a different way of reporting NSC results. In an effort to highlight the important criteria in obtaining a quality pass. This was called the "Inclusive Basket of Criteria, and takes into account important indicators such as the percentage of physical science and mathematics passes, the throughput rate, distinctions and bachelor passes.

Minister Motshekga indicated in the Parliamentary reply (see attached) that the new "Inclusive Basket of Criteria" is a "more integrated approach to reporting that reflects the key indicators of learner performance".

The Western Cape Province has always said that the quality of the pass is more important than purely the league table position. We will therefore be very interested in the performance of our Province, as well as each Provincial Education Department in Matric 2017 in terms of the "Inclusive Basket of Criteria". We would like to see that this will be released today, along with the overall matric pass rate.

The throughput rate is of particular concern to us, as the number of learners writing the full National Senior Certificate, as opposed to dropping out or writing a few subjects through the Multiple Opportunities route, can drastically affect the overall pass rate. We believe that retaining more learners in the system and giving them the opportunity to pass the NSC is more important than losing learners along the way so that schools can achieve a higher pass rate. This was clearly seen in last year's results.

While the Free State Province achieved the highest percentage pass rate overall in terms of the league table, it was in fact the Western Cape that emerged as Number 1 using the "Inclusive Basket of Criteria.

Source: Government of South Africa

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